Professor Karen Harris


Professor Karen R. Harris is the Warner Professor of Education at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University. She is also a Professorial Fellow at Learning Sciences Institute Australia, Australian Catholic University. She has taught kindergarten, fourth grade and special education students with LD and E/BD. Her research focuses on theoretically based interventions for the development of academic and self-regulation abilities among students who are at-risk and those with disabilities, as well as effective models of in-service teacher preparation for writing instruction for all students. She developed the Self-Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD) model of strategies instruction and is co-author or co-editor of several books, including Powerful Writing Strategies for All Students and Making the Writing Process Work: Strategies for Composition and Self-Regulation. She is the former editor of the Journal of Educational Psychology and senior editor of the American Psychological Association Educational Psychology Handbook (2012). Karen has served as a member of the IRA/NICHD Expert Panel on Research on the Reading-Writing Connection, which recently released the report, The Reading-Writing Connection. In 2016, she received the American Educational Research Association Division C Scribner Award for a program of work that has significantly influenced thinking and research in the field of learning and instruction.


Changes in the way we teach writing today, including the writing process approach, have provided students the opportunity to work within a writing community and to write for meaningful purposes and real audiences. However, research indicates that most 5-18 year old students in multiple countries across the world today need support in learning to write. Instruction that helps our students develop powerful composition strategies for planning, drafting, and revising; understandings of genres and the writing process; self-regulation of the writing process; and positive attitudes about writing and themselves as writers is critical. Self-regulated strategy development (SRSD) is an instructional approach that has been deemed evidence-based for writing instruction by four independent groups and addresses all of these aspects. Across grade levels and genres, in over 100 studies conducted in over 10 countries, SRSD has resulted in improvements in five main aspects of students’ writing performance: quality of writing, knowledge of writing and genres, effective use of genre elements, approach to writing, and motivation/self-efficacy about writing. SRSD instruction includes discourse-based, interactive, collaborative, and explicit learning of powerful strategies for writing both across and within genres. Instruction is scaffolded so that responsibility for writing gradually shifts from teacher-led group work to students. Recent research has validated strategies for close reading of source text and persuasive writing, which will be shared here, as well as an overview of SRSD across grade levels. Finally, research has shown professional development in SRSD results in positive outcomes for both teachers and their students, and this professional development will be described.



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